by Jack Warren
Whether it’s looking for an opportunity to advance or an opportunity for self-development in your current position, one of the skills that need not be overlooked is the ability to express yourself well. That can take of the form of written communication, but equally or perhaps more important is the ability to articulate well in one-on-one and group situations.
The difference between you and other leaders — and potentially other candidates for future opportunities — is not always what you know about the game of baseball, your organizational skills, or even your leadership skills. It quite often comes down to your ability to express yourself clearly, forcefully, economically, and elegantly – all in an entertaining and engaging fashion.
Most of you are in situations where you find yourself in consistent one-on-one opportunities, so you’ll get enough practice there. Just be sure to pay attention to doing it properly. I’ll cover that topic more thoroughly in a future column.
Today I’d like to focus on public speaking – in front of crowds (large or small). As mentioned previously, it’s part of your development as a leader that compels you to grow in many areas, one of them being the art and science of public speaking. Books, videos, classes, and conferences have been devoted to this very topic – it’s just that important. You’ll have no problem finding information on how to learn this skill.
Just like the game of baseball, learning the various aspects of public speaking is one thing. Practicing those skills is another thing altogether. Rest assured that these opportunities are all around you. If you’re an assistant coach, ask the head coach to let you take some of his “lesser” or low pressure opportunities. If you’re the head coach, ask your athletic director or other administrator for potential speaking opportunities.
Groups, organizations, clubs, and schools are constantly looking for speakers. These groups don’t necessarily know that they want you, but would jump at an opportunity to hear about the local baseball team’s activities. Taking advantage of these opportunities not only is good public relations for the program, but it affords you the opportunity to hone those public speaking skills.
Listed near the top of almost any list you’ve ever seen on the topic of greatest fears, public speaking is listen at or near the top. The only way to (mostly) overcome this fear is to do it often. And the ability to master (to some degree) this vital skill will put you in a commanding position as a leader. It sets you apart from the pack. The ability to articulate well covers up for many other shortcomings. So do not pass up on opportunities to speak whenever possible. Embrace even the smallest or most pedestrian event. You’ll find yourself gaining confidence with each successive iteration.
Jack is available to conduct half-day or full-day staff development and leadership seminars and two-day retreats for your staff, at your location. Check out the details on Jack’s Ten Second Impact Staff Development and Leadership Seminar. Also, you can get complete information on Jack’s other coaching and consulting at JackWWarren.com.